Vijay fans win 50 seats in TN rural local body polls: A prelude for Vijay's political entry?

Despite actor Vijay's absence in electoral politics, his outfit 'Vijay Makkal Iyakkam' has been strengthening its base in the grassroot institutions, which give direct connection to the people. In the midst of the ongoing dispute between Vijay and his father SA Chandrasekhar, the actor's face has been emerging as inevitable in the local bodies. The rural local body polls are the latest evidence of how the actor's face worked out well in some areas with his outfit opening its account by winning 50 seats.

The results of the rural local body polls that were held in Tamil Nadu have been getting unfolded since the morning hours of Tuesday - October 12, 2021. The polls were held in two phases in nine districts - Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Ranipet, Vellore, Thirupathur, Tirunelveli, and Tenkasi. The first and second phase of the polls were held on October 6 and October 9 respectively and the polls were held to elect representatives for 27,003 postings, including 2,901 village panchayat presidents' posts and 22,581 village panchayat ward councillors. 

The votes were counted on Tuesday and the ruling DMK has been securing a lead across the nine districts. However, while most of the other parties including DMDK, Naam Tamilar Katchi, and Makkal Needhi Maiam had braced up setbacks, Vijay Makkal Iyakkam had moments to celebrate the favourable verdict from the voters. The candidates from Vijay Makkal Iyakkam had mainly contested in the districts of Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram and some had a potential takeaway as the outfit has won nearly 50 seats. 

According to reports, Prabhu, a secretary of Vijay Makkal Iyakkam in Kancheepuram, had won the polls in the margin of one vote. Prabhu had contested for the district ward member post in Gandhi Nagar's first ward in Baluchettychatram of Kancheepuram. There are 260 votes in this ward and 217 votes were registered. Prabhu and four other candidates had fought the race and eventually, Prabhu had won the polls by securing 65 votes, one vote more than the runner-up. 

As the poll had reported a razor-sharp margin, the four other countries had demanded to count the votes again. As per their demand, the votes were re-counted and it was again declared that Prabhu had won the race by one vote. Besides Prabhu, another Vijay Makkal Iyakkam candidate Reena Purusothaman, who contested for the panchayat ward member in Mamandur of Chengalpattu, had won the elections. In line with that, another candidate from Vijay's outfit, Loganathan had also won the polls for the post of the second ward member in same Mamandur. 

With a significant political breakthrough, the fans of the actor have been celebrating the news that the people are electing the members of the outfits to represent them at the grassroot institutions. Earlier, the Vijay Makkal Iyakkam has said that the members will be contesting in the polls and they are allowed to use the actor's name and the flag of the outfit. However, Vijay didn't carry out any campaigns for the local body polls and in the albeit of that, the outfit has displayed that it has a key presence in the local bodies of the state. 

Though winning only limited seats, the reports say that the development of winning the local polls could be a prelude to Vijay's political entry. Vijay has been planning to contest in the 2026 assembly polls and he has been strengthening his outfit in the local bodies to have a direct and overwhelming reach among the voters and the sources say that the outfit has also been working to induct more young people to the body with the view of having the prowess of young generation in the next assembly polls, five years from now.

It has been reported that Vijay will concentrate on films for the next five years and he will then enter politics. Though the political talk had divided the father and son, SA Chandrasekhar, in a recent interview, affirmed that he will bring his son into politics. The rural local body polls for nine districts had seen around 80,000 candidates, contesting for 27,003 posts and the counting was done in 74 centres across the state. Heavy security measures were deployed to make sure that the counting faces no disruptions.

Tamil Nadu Election Commissioner Palani Kumar has said that the surveillance cameras have been installed at each of the counting centres and the results will be made available online, on the election commission website. The current trend suggests that the voters' verdict has been in favour of DMK in the local body polls while the ADMK and the rest of the parties are bracing up setbacks.